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A COLLECTION OF 'BLACK FOREST' FURNITURE
The present collection of 'Black Forest' furniture and decorative objects represent some of the more exotic creations available in this particular genre, whether the finely carved hall stand, lot 462, the amusing articulated bear of lot 443, or the chairs and table, lots 449 to 452.
That carvings of this type are from the Bavarian Black Forest area of Western Germany has long been assumed and the attribution has regretably stuck. Research by Bruce Newman (for his book 'Fantasy Furniture') and others has established the Swiss origin of these pieces. The emblem of the canton of Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is the brown bear, naturally it has been the subject for local sculptors and craftsmen for many years. A regional carving accademy at Brienz, to the South East of Bern, was established in 1884 and among it's teachers was a Peter Trauffer. He was the first of four generations of the family to supplement their incomes by producing wares of this type, which were sold mostly to passing tourists on completion, with little staying in the locality, indeed museums of the area appear to have little or no bear furniture. Newman argues that although not solely responsible for all bear carvings we see today, it was largely 'a Trauffer family preserve from the 1880's until the 1950's'.
The Lime (or Linden) tree provided the preferred wood for the majority of carving, although walnut was also used in production. Many of the trunks of the larger pieces are hollowed to the reverse and some are of two sections and all are subsequently stained.
Signed pieces are scarce, however, the dog in the present collection, lot 459, does have an indistinct makers name, from Interlaken, to it's collar.